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Springboard awardees welcomed to the Academy

The Academy held an induction event for its very first cohort of Springboard awardees in June. The event was organised for awardees to get to know each other and the ways that the Academy can support them.

Springboard is the Academy’s newest funding scheme and is aimed at non-clinical researchers in their first independent position. The scheme seeks to help researchers at a critical career stage and this is done not only through research funds but also a tailored package of career development support. Despite the very wide range of research interests amongst our first cohort of Springboard awardees, all face common challenges and opportunities, and we were very proud to welcome them all to the Academy.

Professor Philippa Saunders FMedSci, who chairs the Springboard Selection Panel, attended the day to meet the awardees and hear about their experiences as researchers. Throughout the day, there were opportunities for them to get to know each other and highlight their research.

Academy staff gave awardees a primer on how to manage their grant and then the tables were turned: we wanted to hear their thoughts on their career development needs and priorities as new group leaders. The induction day also included a mentoring skills workshop to help awardees make the most of the Academy’s acclaimed mentoring scheme, which pairs early career researchers with an Academy Fellow from a different institution to engage in an impartial mentoring relationship.

A keynote talk was given by Professor Deborah Ashby OBE FMedSci, Professor of Medical Statistics and Clinical Trials at Imperial College London. Professor Ashby spoke about her career journey in her talk entitled ‘A Statistician’s Adventure in Wonderland’. The day culminated in a drinks reception where the Academy’s President, Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, gave his warm congratulations to the awardees.

Springboard provides newly-independent non-clinical researchers with up to £100k in research funds for two years and tailored career support to help cement their status as independent researchers. The scheme is made possible thanks to generous support from the Wellcome Trust. The second round of the scheme will open in August 2016.

Quotes from the attendees:

“...I think it was beneficial not only for understanding what can be offered by the Academy, but also in allowing us to realise that we share some of the same concerns/ideas/needs, and that as a cohort we can also provide support for each other if needed.”

 “It was really worthwhile, the informal atmosphere helped everyone open up and find out about each other’s work.”

“It was great to meet both fellow awardees and members of the Academy staff. The friendly open atmosphere was very positive to see.”

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